The country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, also known as ‘Hairoun (a)’ and also 'Yurumein', is located to the south of the Caribbean Sea and has a population of 110.000 people. SVG is a small island nation but its history is quite remarkable and its landscapes are breathtaking.
The country has had a long history of resistance against European imperial powers. The people of St. Vincent, the Caribs, managed to protect their homeland from the French and British settlement for 200 years. They were so vigilant that this territory became the last of the major Caribbean islands to be colonized.
During this struggle, African slaves escaping from shipwrecks or the surrounding islands were welcomed to settle on the islands. They mixed with the Caribs and are now known as the Black Caribs or the Garifuna people.
In 1719 Britain took control over the country and remained in power until 1979, when St. Vincent and the Grenadines claimed its independence and its right to control its own affairs.
The country consists of a main island called Saint Vincent and of 31 smaller islands and cays called The Grenadines.
The country imports the majority of the food, which heavily affects the local economy. Half of the population lives in rural areas of which 25% are employed in farming. The farming population is aging and few young people are going into farming.
Due to the effect of global warming and climate change the overall rainfall will decrease. Furthmore, it will fall more violently and in fewer days. This will lead to more destruction of agricultural crops and fields due to drought as well as flooding. The main island St. Vincent has plenty of water and only a few months of dry season. Only 7% of agricultural land is irrigated and most farmers use a lot of imported pesticides, herbicides and Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash (NPK) fertiliser.
SVG is heavily dependent on imported fossil fuel for electricity generation, transportation and cooking. It has an energy mix of 90% fossil fuels and about 10% hydro power with an increasing contribution from solar photovoltaic (PV). Fortunately, this nation has many potential carbon neutral sources which include geothermal, solar and wind.
In the main land, half of the energy usage is from households. Today, most people use imported LPG gas for cooking and the use of home solar water heaters is common. Currently, the government has installed solar panels in 3 government buildings and in a college; people are more aware of the benefits of using solar power.
There are three hydropower plants in Saint Vincent. With improvements and investment, they can provide up to 20% of the country’s renewable energy. Additionally, the government has partnered with a private company to build a 10 - 15 MW geothermal plant which will be in operation by 2021.
When compared by area, SVG is ranked globally as the second most disaster prone country.
As part of the Caribbean, SVG is in the Atlantic Hurricane Belt. For this reason, damaging hurricanes and flash floods hit the area almost every year. Added to this annual threat, it is predicted that climate change will negatively affect the region by increased intensity of hurricanes, rising sea levels, decreasing rain falls and ascending temperatures.
With hurricanes and tropical storms getting stronger and more damaging, the country will see more landslides and soil and coastal erosion. Furthermore, sea level rise and storm surges will affect the towns and fishing villages all over the country. This will have a direct impact on 85% of the population.